You were right when you said there was more than religion separating us, tearing us apart. You haven’t escaped your ugly past, and your– whatever illness it is, you turn into a different person.
Every relationship, platonic or romantic or familial, is premised on trust. Romantic relationships are premised on vulnerability which makes mutual support possible. When your illness returned, I could not be vulnerable around you. Your moods became unpredictable, and I found myself spending most of my time with you trying to support you emotionally and trying to predict which way you would swing next.
I felt like a therapist, not a girlfriend. And it might have been all right if I thought it would end– if I thought I could support you, focus the relationship on healing you, for a few months, and then you would be better and we would be closer. But it never ended. I kept trying to support you, and it never got better.
And you stopped asking about me. I think, in retrospect, that’s what ended the relationship. You stopped listening to me because you had so much pain inside of you. You just couldn’t focus on anything else. I understand that. I don’t think you were being selfish. But it warped the relationship, changed it into something else.
I supported you until you said you could manage on your own, and then I left you. I’m sorry. The first three weeks were terrible. I worried about you and missed you constantly.
But on the fourth week, I woke up and felt freer than I’d felt for months. It was like color had come back into the world. I felt faintly guilty, but the relief, just the relief of not being tied to you overpowered everything else. I knew that, for the last four months of our relationship, a deep, voiceless unhappiness had crept inside of me, and I tried to ignore it. But I hadn’t realized just how much of my happiness and energy had been lost to that relationship.
When I left you, it came flooding back, and I walked on a mild high for six weeks. Then I began to miss you again– and then you sent me that email, you know the one, where you took every vulnerability I’d entrusted to you and used it to hurt me.
It hurt, J, it really did. But it freed me completely, because I lost the tenuous attraction to you I’d held. Because (I admit it is foolish) I held a sort of dream-hope that you would get better and sort things out. I thought maybe me leaving would be the impetus that made you get help. But after that letter– I realized that, even if you did, I wouldn’t want you any more. I hadn’t realized until then that you could be cruel.
I wish you well, J, but I have no regrets.